November 04, 2002 12:00 PM

by Anne Rice

The short list of Quinn Blackwood’s romantic conquests includes: a normal (i.e. mortal) woman, a young witch, a hypnotic hermaphrodite, the spirit of a murder victim and even Quinn’s own ghostly double. And that’s when he was just an innocent farm boy, before he won the heart of the vampire Lestat himself. Quinn’s list comes out as he tells Lestat the dark, incestuous history of his family—hauntings, murder and a mysterious swamp-dweller behind the old Blackwood mansion included.

Rice’s Vampire Chronicles aren’t really about plot anymore; she simply creates elaborate backgrounds. But as Quinn relates the history of Blackwood Farm, it becomes a creepy, fascinating world unto itself. Quinn also finds time to read Byron and Keats. That mournful-but-sexy romantic vibe infuses the book, making it more than just a monster story. (Knopf, $26.95)

Bottom Line: Superior hemo-eroticism

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